While feeling excited about the new chapter, how much it cost for an international moving? First of all, there is no awesome financial spreadsheet here, and my moving plan was not a budget plan, as my husband and I were traveling with two toddlers and a pet. We want to make sure not to overspend, and on the other hand, we would also like to guarantee a smooth transition! 

I want to share some of those hidden costs we often omitted, and they always sum up becoming a significant expense. The most important tip for an international moving with toddlers and pets is to take time planning. Be prepared. The fewer mistakes during the process mean less unnecessary expenses.

Moving to Barcelona is not a sudden decision, my husband and I have been discussing it for years.  It is a life-changing event, and we took it very carefully. As a multicultural family, we would like to provide an environment that promotes multiculturalism for our children. We were waiting for a right moment, and there were a few things that we tried to achieve before executing the plan:

  1. We want our younger daughter Maya at least one year old 
  2. Financially prepared. 
  3. I received a Spanish marriage certificate and documented in my husband’s Spanish family book before leaving Taiwan (quitting job). It is a critical step to complete before applying for a residence permit. It took us about a year to get approved by requesting from Taiwan. 
  4. We traveled to Barcelona as a vacation before making the final calls, to feel the environment, to reconnect with the local family members and friends.
  5. Enough time to say a proper goodbye to family and friends in Taiwan.

The international moving cost can be varied by the size of your family, travel method, buying or renting housing and etc. the price gets higher as the family grow! There are many ways to execute the plan, and there is no absolute right or complete way. Find the one that fits well for you and your family!


International moving company

The quotation depends on the size of the shipment, the shipment distance, and how would you like to be delivered. Some families may feel like hiring a one-stop-shop international mover that provides the service from packing, transport to unpacking; sea freight is definitely cheaper than the airfreight!

There are two types of “door to door” delivery service in Spain; door to “at your front door” service vs. door to “inside your house” service! If you are planning to live in an apartment or without extra hands during the unloading day, you may want to hire a service that sends all the boxes into your house. 

Shipping supplies and packing material costs such as tapes, foam paper, and bubble wraps.

My quotation from Taiwan to Barcelona, door to full delivery was around €2000 at a minimum of 100 ft³ (3 m³), pallet, boxes, gas, customs fee, movers, loading, documents, etc. are all included. The quotation is not including insurance, duty tax, and warehouse storage fees.

Note that after your belongings arrive in the new country, if the delivery address and the documents are not able to provide for the customs clearance in time, your belongings will remain at the warehouse, and that will incur storage fees.

Another budget option is to sell or donate everything from your home country and move with the maximum airline baggage allowance.

Booking flights

The airfare or train tickets will depend on the destination and demand. Plan to move during the low season and buy the tickets as early as possible, tickets are generally cheaper if purchased well in advance. It is also helpful to check on credit card awards or airline mileage; perhaps you may be able to save some expense from here. 

I booked the flight tickets six months in advance using mileages and select a low season period. 

Pet flying arrangement

Pet fees are divided into two main parts: airline fee and pet travel agent. 

Call the airline company directly to make a pet’s international flying arrangement. Most likely, you will be paying the fee at the airport during check-in.  

Before flying your pet, there are some expenses such as vaccinations, flea pills, heartworm medicine, pet microchip, grooming before the flight, flight-approved crate, …etc.


International moving requires large numbers of formal papers. Sometimes there are document application fees to print, signed, and notarized. The price of applying for a passport can be high in some countries. 

The translation fee takes a significant part here. As a multicultural family, our documents are usually present in different languages like English, Mandarin, and Portuguese. Moving to Spain will need to prepare documents in Spanish. Materials that may need to be translated by a certified official translator are birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal records, medical records, etc. 

Have your legal and financial documents ready and in order. The incomplete or insufficient material will impact the process of receiving a formal ID in the new country. You will spend time and money on international mailing, communicating with different parties, signing power of attorney (if there is anyone), scheduling with the consulate, and so forth. 


Will you be breaking the lease if you are currently renting an apartment? 

Costs of selling your current property can be significant. 

Move out fees such as rubbish removal, furniture removal, maintenance, and repair. 

School fees

It depends on the educational system you select for your children: local public schools, a local private school, and an international school. 

My husband and I would like to provide our children with a multicultural education environment primarily in English; International nursery school was our choice. The application and registration fee was paid to secure the position. 

Outstanding bills

Make sure to clear all the outstanding bills such as phone, internet, cable, utilities, insurance, credit card, medication bills.

Leave with no debt!

clear out government tax and fine!


Prepaid SIM card, medication expenses to update all vaccinations and body checkups, an arrangement to the airport. 


Depending on the kind of lifestyle you would like to have. As for our case, you will be looking at a slightly higher budget. 

Health insurance

Spain provides an excellent public health care system. However, if you are on your way to the USA. This category may be very different. 

Although the Spanish health care system is very well planned, it requires me to obtain private health insurance to apply for a residence permit. 

Short term apartment rental

Instead of renting an apartment from Taiwan, worrying about not seeing the site at first, not knowing the neighborhood, connecting the utilities, buying a mattress, and some basic needs on our first day. Not to mention in some cities, you will need a proper local ID, job proof, and local bank information to rent a long-term apartment. We have decided to start with a short-term rental; this type of lease is usually higher. But it guarantees you and your family a single place to rest and allow yourself to take a deep breath after accomplishing the first stage of moving abroad.

Long- term Apartment rental

The major expense here is the security deposit, which is usually equivalent to 2-3 months rental. 

Depending on the size of your new house/apartment, move-in fees are furniture, changing the locks, fix the damage, or clean the apartment.

Transportation cost

Transportation don’t stop just because you have arrived to the new city.

2 adults, 2 toddlers with 4 luggages and a dog crate arriving Barcelona at midnight. My husband and I decided to prearrange a driver pick up to avoid wondering around the airport.

You may need to arrange a car rental or taxi to move all your belongings from short-term to long-term rental.

Public transportation and walking are the cheapest way to get around the new city.

Immigration attorney

An immigration lawyer is the best option to deal with bureaucracy, some time to speed up the process, and you may end up saving money from the mistakes. Residence permits are usually granted with access to the labor market. If you are a double income family, obtaining a work authorization as soon as possible is crucial. 

School fees

At this point, you will be either paying monthly or annual tuition. Before entering the school, parents will usually be asked to prepare a few things in advance, such as a small bed, bedsheet, school uniform, school bag, water bottle…etc. 

Everyday essentials

Buying basic needs, food, and beverages. Children’s food, milk, and supply. 

Total moving oversea costs can range from €5,000 to €15,000 for a family of four and a pet. 

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